Features NYC Published 28 March 2020

Letter from the Editor

Thinking of you all during this unprecedented moment.

Nicole Serratore

I have no answers (I do have the cat snacks, which explains this photo).

With the New York theater scene shutdown, most of us in New York City in some sort of self-isolation or self-quarantine situation, it’s a very odd time to be running a theater criticism website. 

Many people are coping by making art. Others by connecting online. Some by finding ways to keep a flow of artistic endeavors available to the public online.  We’re happy to share our thoughts on some of these online ventures (and have done so here).

But I’m taking some time off to grieve. There have been deaths in the theater community due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). I’m bereft at the loss of jobs and the entire community of people who make a living around live performance not being able to do that anymore. Even if it has been done for everyone’s health and safety, as it should be, still…my heart.

Personally, I’m struggling with the loss of a big part of my life. I had a social life built around theater friends and a career around theater criticism. This time spent in the dark surrounded by other people was a lifesaver for me. Suddenly having to shutdown that has been really hard to process. I’m still quite numb. I have not been able to throw myself into the digital abyss and watch a bunch of theater online. I hope for many of you the online alternatives are a balm–voices and faces you love finding you in this moment of difficulty. 

For me, I’ve been getting lost in a Korean rom-com soap opera of sorts. I’m giving myself permission to eat cookies and obsess about a fashion maven who accidentally crash lands in North Korea (Crash Landing On You is on Netflix).  It’s ridiculous and also somehow just what I needed right now. 

One of the central themes of this TV show is how close South Korea and North Korea are physically, yet the characters are traversing a great cultural, social, and political distance. While the North and South Korean characters become closer there is a fundamental tension as to what kind of future they can have together. They are not permitted to cross the border or communicate with each other. This accidental meeting may be all they have. Every time their friendships and relationships deepen, there is a sadness about when this will necessarily end. 

Unlike these fictional characters, while we are all at a distance from one another right now, at least there is a future where we can reconnect. We don’t know when, but it is out there. I’m taking comfort in that. 

I’m sleeping. I’m cooking. I’m getting 15 minutes of sunshine a day. I’m washing my hands raw. It’s a really hard time and maybe some of you are going through something similar.

Whether you are in isolation alone or managing this with roommates, sharing space with a partner or wishing you were fostering a pet, I think we are all coping the best we can. Good for us. Celebrate the daily victories. Getting up, feeding and caring for yourself, and trying to find ways to carry yourself through the day. Be kind to yourself. 

I just wanted to send my digital love and thoughts across this spatial divide, wherever you are and whatever your circumstances at this difficult time. Wishing us all many nights at the theater together someday in the future.  

Much love from isolation,

Nicole Serratore

Nicole Serratore

Nicole Serratore writes about theater for Variety, The Stage, American Theatre magazine, and TDF Stages. She previously wrote for the Village Voice and Flavorpill. She was a co-host and co-producer of the Maxamoo theater podcast. She is a member of the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle.